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Published: January 9th 2012
You pack to your means...
You know the saying 'you live to your means'? You don't earn very much, you don't spend very much; you find you're earning a little more, you find you're spending a little more? I think the same goes for packing - whatever size container you have, you somehow manage to fill it up. The two of us managed to spend 27 months travelling the world with everything we needed packed in to two average sized rucksacks. And yet, for our first family holiday with Clara, we were going away in our large family car and, wow, was it packed to the brim! Ok, so we'd gained a 5 month old baby and all the paraphernalia that she entailed, but the amount of luggage we had was laughable and a sure sign that life had changed. A few weeks later I managed to take Clara for a few days stay at my parents. We travelled on the train with one rucksack and a buggy, which rather proved the 'packing to your means' point! Family fun...
We'd taken Clara away several times for the weekend to visit people before but this would be our first
official family holiday and we'd be sharing it with Mark's side of the family, altogether 8 adults and 3 small children. Once the decisions on what to take (ummm, everything?) and car-packing had been done we felt stressed enough to need the holiday - and we still had to get there! A couple of cottages had been booked on a campsite in Woolacombe, Devon just over 260 miles away. In most countries that wouldn't seem too far but that's the other end of the country by UK standards and a long journey, we discovered, is a whole lot more 'interesting' with a baby in tow. Several hours, several stops, a roadside feed, more nursery rhymes than any one person should really know and some crying (mostly by Clara!) later, we were glad to arrive to some lovely accomodation and the rest of the family already moved in.
The weather all week was absoutely amazing, hot, bright and sunny, impressive by any UK standards but especially for the last week of September. This meant we could enjoy plenty of time at Woolacombe's, gorgeous beach, it's wide stretch of golden sand playing great host to our fun and games. Much sand-digging
and wave-jumping was enjoyed by all, especially our 3 year old niece, Lauren, who kept on dragging us further out into the sea so she could be lifted over bigger and bigger waves. We introduced Clara to the beach by helping her paddle in the sea and burying her feet in the sand, she was probably a bit young to really enjoy it but she certainly appreciated a taste of that fine English seaside treat - the post-beach, sand-dusted ice-cream!
We were able to take Clara and her cousins swimming every day in the cute little indoor campsite pool which we always had to ourselves since it was late in the holiday season. She really grew to love splashing about in the water. The grown-ups amongst us were also able to enjoy a glass of wine in the hot-tub of an evening which felt very decadent as we propped the baby monitors on the table next to the jacuzzi!
With plenty of us around we were able to arrange baby-sitting duties so we could all take it in turns to walk out some nights to the little village of Mortehoe and sample some local ales in a couple
of it's nice pubs. Nestled on the cliffs, around one road, many of the houses and buildings had roofing tiles covering their walls to protect them from the coastal elements.
From the campsite we could access the coastal path and, with Clara strapped into the sling, had a great morning walk along the clifftops where we admired the rugged rocky views and rolling green hills behind. Topped off with a picnic with the rest of the family on the beach and some more wave-jumping, it made for a great trip out.
We had a fabulous first holiday with Clara. It's vastly different from exploring places as a couple, and there's a whole lot less sitting-around-chilling-out-reading-feet-up kind of time and a whole lot more 'stuff' but we wouldn't have changed it for the world. Now...where to go next...and what to pack?!
Tot: 2.431s; Tpl: 0.076s; cc: 15; qc: 36; dbt: 0.0506s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
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